May Foodie Penpals and a quinoa pasta bento (Bento #266)

It’s time to finally get to reveal the amazing Foodie Penpals package I received this month! This is my second month participating in FPP and I’m loving it. Each month you get paired up with wonderful foodies and exchange foodie gift boxes. What could be better? If you want to participate next month, you need to sign up by June 4th.

This month I was unbelievably lucky to be sent a box from Sylvia from Frolic Through Life. She said that she loves quinoa and wanted to do a quinoa themed box. Oh my heaven! She didn’t just send me quinoa. She sent me four fantastic foods made with quinoa! I had no idea these items even existed.

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I mean, wow! Where do I start? Hubs and I immediately ripped into the quinoa clusters. They’re fabulous! The chocolate didn’t last long either, lol! The thin cakes tasted a lot like plain rice cakes. I ate them with the nut butters as afternoon snacks. Everything in this box was good. I was spoiled!

compilation

I’m definitely going to be getting more of these great quinoa products. This is why I love FPP!

I was so excited to try the pasta that I made it the same night my package came. Patience? What patience? I don’t even know what that word means. ;) While the quinoa pasta was cooking I sauteed onions, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, and snow peas. Once it was all finished, I tossed it all together with fresh cracked pepper.

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The pasta has the texture of the whole wheat pastas I’ve tried and it was good! I dearly love vegee pasta and this hit the spot. For lunch the next day I packed it with a grilled pork chop, Korean melon slices, cheese, and a kiwi and blueberry fruit salad. Looking at this picture makes me wish I still had some.

If you’re interested, hop on over to Carrie at Family Fitness Food to see what I sent her.

Happy Bento-ing!

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What's in your stash? (Bento #265)

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So, what’s in your freezer stash? A good freezer stash is essential for a bento on the go. Whenever I have extra rice, meatballs, patties, etc. I always freeze them in bento sized portions for a day like today. I pulled two Morning Star Farms vegee patties, rice, and soy beans out of the freezer and quickly defrosted them in the microwave. In seconds, half my bento was finished!

I also cut up some strawberries, leftover steamed multi-colored carrots, leftover steamed green beans, and made a cucumber, tomato, and palm heart salad. This bento actually ended up having a bit too much food in it, I couldn’t finish it all!

What do you keep in your freezer stash?

Happy Bento-ing!

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Tamagoyaki and killer pickles (Bento #264)

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I know these pickles look a little strange (bottom of container on the right) but they are heaven! I have almost perfected my pickle recipe. As soon as I give it a few more tries I’ll share all of the nitty gritty details with you. The pinkish color comes from the use of ume vinegar. Ume vinegar is the vinegar leftover from making umeboshi (pickled plums). It’s intensely salty and has a very unique flavor. To make these pickles I’m using a combination of ume vinegar, seasoned rice vinegar, and red shiso leaves. I can’t get enough of them!

I was very tempted to just eat pickles for lunch but I forced myself to pack some other food. I wasn’t really in the mood to cook, after all it was 6AM, so I made the simplest thing I could think of, tamagoyaki with cheddar cheese. It got a little browner than I like but, as I said, it was 6AM. I filled the rest of the bento with corn on the cob, a radish, steamed colorful carrots, a mini Babybel cheese, and blueberries.

I finally sent out my first newsletter! Yay! Yeah, I know, I’m a nerd. ^_^ If you’d like to start getting them the sign-up box is over on the right. Also, I got in a few new bento boxes and posted them up in the store. They’re perfect for a summer picnic!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Grilled chicken pitas (Bento #263)

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This weekend was my husband’s birthday and we had a a little party for him at my parent’s house. My amazing mom made us grilled chicken with pitas and tzatziki, a greek salad, roasted green beans with almonds, shrimp, and lots of hummus and crackers. We were stuffed!

We got sent home with leftovers and I knew I wanted to make them into a bento. Since we had been eating it all weekend I wanted to add a bunch of new stuff as well. Other than the grilled chicken and pitas, I packed a hard boiled egg, shiso leaf, blanched snow peas, strawberries, yellow squash, cucumber, carrots, a radish, and a marinated mozzarella pearl. Then I decorated the bento with an edible flower and some boxwood basil leaves.

I’m finally starting a proper newsletter! If you want to sign up, check the sidebar on the right and the signup box is right there. I promise I won’t spam you, lol! I’ll send a newsletter out no more than twice a month. It’ll be an easy way to see what’s been going on at Ohayo Bento, new and restocked products in the bento store, and special offers for newsletter subscribers.

Have a happy Monday and Happy Bento-ing!

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Take me back to the islands (Bento #262)

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It’s almost summer and I’m getting the itch to go back down to the Keys. Hubs and I are planning a diving trip off Key West and I can’t wait to go! This bento reminds me of the islands a little with the flowers and all of the greenery. I sent it to work with Hubs today and I hope it takes him on a mini vacation.

In the bento: ham, greens, and pickle rolls, a hard boiled egg, corn, strawberries, jicama flowers, snow peas, cucumber, a carrot rose, and a sprig of boxwood basil.

What wonderful things do you have planned for the summer?

Happy Bento-ing!

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DIY taco bento and giveaway winners (Bento #261)

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To do tacos or burritos in a bento, they almost have to be DIY. I’ve tried making them ahead of time, but by the time lunch hits, the tortilla is soggy and just falls apart. Yuck! Plus, I think it’s fun to have to assemble them at lunch. Yeah, I know, I’m a dork. :)

These tacos come with seasoned taco beef, refried beans, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and some homemade avocado salsa. I love making this salsa! It’s so simple and wonderfully delicious. I’m going to try my hand at posting an actual recipe for it at the bottom. Cross your fingers for me!

Anyway, enough of the taco talk already! We have giveaway winners to announce! In total, there were 244 entries in the Happy Birthday giveaway! Wow! I’m so impressed! I had so much fun reading all of your comments. Thank you all for entering.

The winners were randomly chosen by Punchtab (the program that organized the giveaway). And they are........ drumroll please.......

Lori and Evelyn!

Yay!!! ^_^ You’re packages will be heading out soon!

I had a few people email and ask if they could purchase the giveaway as a bundle if they didn’t win. Unfortunately I’m super low on some of the inventory, but I did post the bundles in the bento store if you’d like to pick one up. I also added a couple of Open Box items to the clearance section.

Printable Avocado Salsa Recipe
Printable Avocado Salsa Recipe w/o picture

Avocado Salsa no pic

Happy Bento-ing!

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Ginger beef with brussels sprouts (Bento #260)



Who doesn’t love ginger? Freshly cut ginger always smells so fresh, crisp, and clean. I’m half tempted to rub it behind my ears. ^_^ But, for as wonderful as it smells, it can get a bit overpowering when you use too much. This ginger beef had just the right amount of ginger flavor but without too much of the ‘heat’ that fresh ginger gives. The trick is cutting the ginger in large chunks and cooking it in the pan with everything else. Then, just before serving, pull the ginger pieces out of the pan. If it isn’t quite enough flavor, do what I did, and put those cooked juicy ginger chunks through a garlic press to extract the juice. It’s like liquid gold.

Hubs is still on his “I don’t like rice” kick. *sigh* So I paired the ginger beef with wild mushroom couscous. But please, don’t let anybody know it came from a box. Haha! For lunch, I added blueberries, a plum tomato, and marinated mozzarella.

I’m so impressed with how well the Happy Birthday giveaway is going! If you haven’t entered yet, you still have 5 more days to do so! Here is the giveaway link. I’m raffling off 2 bento starter kits! Oooh it’s so exciting!

Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend. Do you have any special plans?

Happy Bento-ing!

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Sweet and spicy shrimp (Bento #259)



I made this bento for Hubs last week and he said it was his favorite bento of the year! Awwww! Don’t tell him, but, it was also one of the easiest. I’ll keep it my little secret though. It has spinach and ham rolls with parmesan flakes, pickles, sweet potatoes, cucumber and tomato salad, a mini-Babybel cheese, and sweet and spicy shrimp.

The shrimp were unbelievably easy to make. I keep a stash of cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp in the freezer for a quick snack or appetizer. Usually I just serve them with cocktail sauce but I didn’t think that would translate too well to a bento. I needed a sauce that would coat the shrimp and not leak all over the place... honey. I mixed some tupelo honey with Sriracha and a dash of salt and tossed it with the warm shrimp. The taste was surprisingly complex for such a simple sauce and the heat didn’t hit until the very end. I’m definitely going to be making this again!

Don’t forget to enter the Happy Birthday giveaway!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Happy Birthday Giveaway!

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to Ohayo Bento! Happy birthday to you!

May 15th is Ohayo Bento’s 2nd birthday! Wow! I can’t believe it’s been 2 years already. It’s been an amazing and wonderful journey. I’m looking forward to many more years to come. The best parts are the truly wonderful people that I’ve had the honor of meeting through bento making. This whole experience has brought me so much joy and friendship. Thank you all!

Anyway, enough of the sappy stuff! What good is a birthday if you have to celebrate it alone?

I did a Facebook poll on the best way to celebrate and......... I’m giving away two small bento starter kits! They have everything you need to get your bento mojo on.

Each kit comes with an insulated bag, two bento boxes, two types of sauce containers, two types of silicon cups, and a set of decorative picks. Don’t worry, I’m also going to throw in a bento strap for the 2-tier bento to keep it together. :)



So how can you get your hands on one of these awesome boxes of loot?? Well, I’m going to try out this little widget below. I hope it makes it easy and fun! Because I’m not up on the latest rules and laws for giveaways in other countries, I am going to limit this giveaway to the US and to adults 18 years and older. Thank you!



Happy Bento-ing and good luck!
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Breakfast for lunch? Please and thank you! (Bento #258)



Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? What about breakfast for lunch? Sounds good to me! I didn’t plan on making breakfast for dinner last night until I saw that Whole Foods’ cheesy bacon maple sage breakfast sausages were on sale. Whoever decided to put bacon in a sausage needs the Nobel Prize.

To go along with the delicious, fatty, heart clogging sausages, I made carb-cakes. I mean pancakes. :) Hubs can’t have breakfast without them. All of this bad-for-you food guilt caught up with me and I opted for a nice and healthy frittata full of mushrooms, onions, and spinach... with just a little cheese on top.

All of these “stick to your ribs” foods desperately needed the aid of fresh fruits and vegetables (cucumber, tomatoes, and grapes). I also added some ham wrapped pickles for a little acidity.

Pay no attention to the slice of sour cream pound cake in the corner. I assure you, it’s just a figment of your imagination.....

Happy Bento-ing!

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